TQM is the way of managing for the future, and is far wider in its application than just assuring product or service quality – it is a way of managing people and business processes to ensure complete customer satisfaction at every stage, internally and externally. TQM, combined with effective leadership, results in an organization doing the right things right, first time. The core of TQM is the customer-supplier interfaces, both externally and internally, and at each interface lie a number of processes. This core must be surrounded by commitment to quality, communication of the quality message, and recognition of the need to change the culture of the organisation to create total quality. These are the foundations of TQM, and they are supported by the key management functions of people, processes and systems in the organisation.
The building blocks of TQM: processes, people, management systems and performance measurement
Everything we do is a Process, which is the transformation of a set of inputs, which can include action, methods and operations, into the desired outputs, which satisfy the customers’ needs and expectations. In each area or function within an organisation there will be many processes taking place, and each can be analyzed by an examination of the inputs and outputs to determine the action necessary to improve quality.
In every organisation there are some very large processes, which are groups of smaller processes, called key or core business processes. These must be carried out well if an organisation is to achieve its mission and objectives. The section on Processes discusses processes and how to improve them, and Implementation covers how to priorities and select the right process for improvement.
The only point at which true responsibility for performance and quality can lie is with the People who actually do the job or carry out the process, each of which has one or several suppliers and customers.
An efficient and effective way to tackle process or quality improvement is through teamwork. However, people will not engage in improvement activities without commitment and recognition from the organization’s leaders, a climate for improvement and a strategy that is implemented thoughtfully and effectively. The section on People expands on these issues, covering roles within teams, team selection and development and models for successful teamwork.
An appropriate documented Quality Management System will help an organisation not only achieve the objectives set out in its policy and strategy, but also, and equally importantly, sustain and build upon them. It is imperative that the leaders take responsibility for the adoption and documentation of an appropriate management system in their organisation if they are serious about the quality journey. The Systems section discusses the benefits of having such a system, how to set one up and successfully implement it.
Once the strategic direction for the organization’s quality journey has been set, it needs Performance Measures to monitor and control the journey, and to ensure the desired level of performance is being achieved and sustained. They can, and should be, established at all levels in the organisation, ideally being cascaded down and most effectively undertaken as team activities and this is discussed in the section on Performance.
In recent years, numerous individual organizations in industrialized economies have begun to rethink and reformulate the nature of their competitive strategies. And one of the most “high profile” directions of proposed and actual change in this regard has been the discussion and implementation of total quality management
These TQM programmes have been viewed as an instrument of organizational development and change which have potentially greater staying power than their linear predecessor, quality circles. At the same time, however, human resource management and industrial relations...